Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

November is here, and winter is coming

I rode today again.  Just got on my bike and headed for the nearest hill.  It was one of those days when it was cold outside, so you head for the hills to get a climb in your legs, and get your body temperature up.

It was a grey day.  It had clouded over from the sunny ‘it was lovely when I got up’ weather first thing.  Golden leaves were being blown off the trees and across the road.  For about 7 miles I saw only two cars.  Just pedalling, warm and toasty in my cool weather gear.

The terrain is relentless.  There is up or down.  No flats, and it appeals to the ‘rules’ of a good road ride for me.  These rules are that you have to have at least two leg burning, granny gear climbs in it.  One isn’t enough.  Leg burn should come twice.

Just really really enjoyable.

Zeals, Mere, The Deverils, Cut through to the Warminster / Shaftesbury Road, Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Milton on Stour, Bourton, Zeals.


Time Off, Fast Cars and Bicycles

I have taken a few days off, and am doing such exciting things as decorating the living room. Just white. Nothing exciting. But you get snow blind with it. In a room 3m x 5m, it really surprises me how long it takes!

Yesterday I decided to travel down to my parents’ house. Today is my birthday, and with The Pretty One being away I wanted to be back at my parents place. Also, I needed some work done on my car.

Now, I don’t really drive that much. I work from home, and I have no car when I am in Germany. My car will sit outside the house for days and days without being used. I do, however, enjoy cars and I like driving. From a early age, I knew every car on the road. It used to amaze me with one of my friends who thought of cars as just being cars. A generic thing, and not until he came around to buying one did he engage himself with the differences. I have a rather silly car – not economical to run, maintain or not even that practical. It is difficult getting bikes in it (fold down seats – which you don’t want to do with a beige leather interior – or use a rack) and being as I take a bike with me to most places that I go, it really is stupid. It is fun though. The 3 litre engine and the around 240 bhp see to that.

All of this flies in the face of the politics which I have surrounding cars. I think that we should use them less, and I think that such vehicles are excessive. I justify my car by arguing that it is more economical on a long drive that something a lot less powerful which has to try harder at speed. I also argue that I don’t use it that much. It is crap though, and I know it.

I have friends with even more ‘silly’ vehicles. One of which I borrowed for a couple of weeks earlier in the year. The other I drove yesterday. The other of which is pictured below.

An Aston Martin V8 Vantage – not his one, this is an 05, his is an 07.

What was it like? Well it was quick. I didn’t push it hard though, and I didn’t corner it anywhere near the limits. When my friend drove it, I was amazed at how well it went around corners. Given that it is 7 inches wider than a Ford Focus, this isn’t really that surprising. The noise was amazing, but I have to agree with my friend (the owner) with his disappointment at the interior. Parts borrowed straight from the Ford parts bin, with a Volvo sat nav and Mondeo indicator stalks. It just didn’t seem right on a £110k car! It detracts ‘slightly’. Not completely, but you wonder who would object to paying a few hundred more to have more solid feeling fittings.

Am I sold? Well, my lottery winning car would be an Aston Martin and still would be – just seems a lot classier than Ferarris, Lamborghinis or Porsche – although the latter is probably more likely to feature in my (distant) future if any of them.

I still had a lot of the day left, so I got on my road bike. I am in South West Wilts, and riding to Bruton and the hills surrounding Alfred’s Tower the lack of any cars just brought a big smile to my face. That is something you don’t get in the South East, and is a reason that I wont miss it that much when I leave.